Resources for Nonprofits and Techies

Wendy Bolm 11/25/2016

CommitChange now hosts Fika for Social Good events in the MidWest, an informal series of discussions for nonprofit leaders and tech professionals. During our first meeting, we discussed resources for nonprofits and professionals to use in business and in building connections. 


Creating and maintaining a digital presence on a budget can seem daunting. When you add all of the software, hardware, web communities, and web platforms that a nonprofit has to adopt to remain cutting edge, the process of working in a digital world can become overwhelming. Our CEO Roderick has already shared a list of resources he recommends for nonprofits. Below you'll find more tools to put in your digital toolbelt. 


Get Help


Many members of the CommitChange community have joined the Facebook Tech Support Group for Nonprofits, where people can share their knowledge, ask questions, or just lurk for answers. 


Consider Open Source


It can be hard to move from a familiar operating system or apps, but adopting open source software can help save money and sometimes even provide a user experience that is more stable than using software developed and maintained by corporate interests. Easy doorways into the open source world are Libre Office (can be compared to Microsoft Office) and GIMP (can be compared to Photoshop). There are all sorts of open sourced apps out there, including CRMs, movie editing software, and data analysis tools. 


Build Your Skills


While many software companies have their own training, certifications, webinars, and support, there are plenty of online schools popping up where, for free or for a moderate fee, users can use hands-on tutorials to learn how to everything from coding languages to graphic design. Khan Academy is a great free online school, and if you are a fan of podcasts, a quick podcast search can bring up tons of free lectures on all sorts of academic topics. 


Volunteer


An easy way to find volunteer positions is through VolunteerMatch. You can search by keyword and location to make sure that your skills are making their best impact. There are also many regional volunteer services, like the Volunteer Center of East Central Wisconsin, which has a number of focused volunteer groups and events that people can take part in. 


Attend a Hackathon


Hackathons are meetups of develepors and other techies who come together to work through issues in their own projects or band together to build an app or solve a problem in a larger project. Many hackathons are organized privately, but there are also civic hackathons across the country. Members of the Appleton Coworking Space are in the beginning steps of organizing a hackathon to address the needs of local nonprofits. 


Visit a Makerspace


Makerspaces are local businesses that offer space and equipment for all types of projects, from metalworking and sewing to 3D printing. They're a good resource for figuring out how to do everything from 3D printing an obscure part on a piece of machinery to help making a full project come to life. Members often collaborate on projects. The Appleton Makerspace is active in the Fox Valley region, and offers free nights on Thursdays. 





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